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Author Topic: Blu-Ray? what do I need?  (Read 1532 times)
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Giles Habibula
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« on: May 31, 2009, 02:12:29 AM »

I recently purchased my first Blu-Ray disk, knowing full-well I had no Blu-Ray player. But I wanted to grab it, since I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it later. It's a concert released from the Netherlands, and I had to import it (not released at all in USA or NA). I had already imported a region 0 and PAL format 2-DVD set of that concert, but I have an all-region and PAL compatible DVD player, so that was no problem.

Since I love the concert so much, I wanted to prepare for the day when I was able to watch it in all its hi-def glory, so I went ahead and imported the Blu-Ray version too, at great expense, just in case it's discontinued before I'm able to afford a Blu-Ray player and/or TV.

So I've got this BluRay disk sitting here (which comes with a bonus regular DVD). On the back of the case, which contains both disks, it says Region 0 and PAL. I'm assuming that is for the regular bonus DVD and not the BluRay disk though, since I don't think BR uses region numbers. I'm wanting desperately to watch it, but I have a feeling I will be needing to buy an all-new audio-video setup to do so. I'm actually in no hurry, but want to know what I'm going to need when the time comes.

Here's what I've currently got:
1. Panasonic 27" 1080i capable CRT. I looked on the back. It has no HDMI port. It's from 2005. It still works fine, in spite of all the negative reviews there, and still displays a stunningly crisp picture. But at 27", it may be too small to even notice the upgrade to hi-def. In fact, most people who have seen it tell me the picture is so good, it already looks like it's doing hi-def. I absolutely love the picture, which is one of the reasons I'm not in any big rush to get a newer and bigger set.
2. An all-region DVD player Philips DVP5990, which has no bearing on this I guess.
3. A Pioneer VSX-5300 stereo system from 1988, which still kicks much ass and has great sound fidelity, but has NONE of the modern stuff like 2.1 much less 5.1. It does have surround-sound, but that's about it for 'modern' features. That link was the only image I could find. I actually paid around $400 for it back in the day, not including the 6 massive Fisher speakers I added.

As you can see, I'm woefully behind the times here, and a bit lost.

Here's the Blu-Ray player I kinda picked at random (not purchased yet) due to its being supposedly region free and also HD-DVD capable (though I can't really see a need for that particular feature in my case). Region-free IS important to me however, both with BluRay and standard DVD use.

Am I also going to NEED a new TV?
And a new stereo system?

Any other thoughts?
If I can get by with just buying a Blu-Ray player and hooking it up to my existing HD TV, I'm ready to buy now just to see the picture in hi-def, I'd be happy to stay with my current stereo for the time being as well. However, all my instincts are telling me that I'm in need of a totally new audio and video set-up. In the future, I'd be looking at a new 50"+ 1080p television, but it's out of the question for me price-wise right now.

(edited to repair my links.)
« Last Edit: May 31, 2009, 03:04:53 AM by Giles Habibula » Logged
Canuck
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2009, 11:09:29 AM »

All I gotta say is that must be one hell of a concert...
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Blackjack
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 02:20:06 PM »

Quote
As you can see, I'm woefully behind the times here, and a bit lost.
Ha! I am "woefully behind the times." You merely need a tweak or two to be updated.  icon_smile
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Chaz
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2009, 02:39:08 PM »

I'm really not sure on how BRs do region coding, if they do at all.  However, last I checked, the PS3 is still the best BR player out there.  It's possible that things have changed and a standalone now matches its performance and beats the price, but a year ago, there was nothing that even came close. 

Your TV should be fine to hook it up to.  The only caveat is that there's a copy-protection flag that BR producers can turn on that will make it so the HD signal will only be output over HDMI.  I'm 99% sure no disks have actually used this yet.  As long as that flag isn't on, you should have no problem using standard component cables.  I've had my PS3 hooked up this way for a long time with no problems. 

Your sound system won't be an issue either, though if it doesn't even do 2.1, you're missing a ton of audio quality.  I'd definitely look into getting a decent receiver, especially if the disk that's prompting this is a concert.  Amazon has this one on sale (it doesn't say, but the price should drop to $292 at checkout, but don't know how long that lasts).  I have the model one step down (mine doesn't have HDMI in to process the newest audio formats), and it's an excellent receiver for the price.  If you already have speakers (I'm assuming you have 5 plus a subwoofer), then you should be good to go.  If you don't have a dedicated center channel and/or a sub, you might want to look into getting those too.   Really any receiver that processes 5.1 (which is all of them these days), you should be fine.
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Giles Habibula
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2009, 03:26:41 PM »

Thanks. Yeah, the HDMI thing was what had me worried. I remember reading something about that a while back.
Also HDCP. Or is that just for computer components?
I may have to check into a PS3 then. Never actually thought I'd ever have a reason to buy a console. smile

And I'm pretty sure my receiver doesn't have a dedicated center channel, but I'd have to pull out my entertainment center to check. I'm actually very happy with the audio right now, but then I've never really listened to a good 5.1 system. The closest I have to compare is my PCs 2.1 system, which also sounds good. At any rate, all I have on my 'home stereo' system is 4 huge Fishers (which feature great bass) and 2 medium-sized Fishers (which have not-so-great bass) that I use for the surround.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2009, 03:34:42 PM by Giles Habibula » Logged
Rich
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009, 04:59:13 PM »

Something to remember about using a PS3 as your BD player in conjunction with a reciever, since the Spring of 2008 the PS3 allowed decoding of all the major HD audio formats but unless they have changed the newest ones it can not bitstream the data to a reciever it only passes it on via PCM, all this means is if you get a receiver that decodes DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio the receiver will not be doing the decoding the PS3 will and the pretty blue light on the receiver will not light up when using those audio formats.  To sum up if you want a PS3 to play BD and don't see your yourself getting a standalone BD player later on there is no need to pay the extra for a receiver that decodes those 3 HD audio formats.

As far as I know only HDMI cables can be used with a 1080p signal but since your TV doesn't do 1080p and you'll be using 1080i the component should work fine.

I have a nice 700w receiver in my basement that's maybe 4 years old I think, it's a 7.1 but it doesn't have any HDMI inputs or outputs or decode any of the HD audio, I'd let it go real cheap but it's the shipping of something that heavy that has kept me from selling it or trading it.
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Chaz
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2009, 07:10:22 PM »

A 5.1 mix definitely improves the audio quality by a lot.  By having discrete directional audio, it gives the audio much more control over what and how you hear.  In the context of your concert recording, what will likely happen is that the majority of sound will come from the front, while the rears will be used to create the resonance of the hall where the concert took place, meaning it will sound much more like you're actually in the hall with the performers.  It's really one of those things that has to be heard to be appreciated.  It's entirely possible that your current speakers will be just fine, though you'll definitely want a center channel.  If they're big enough to produce enough bass for you, then you might be able to get away without a sub, but for my money, the additional power that a good sub provides to the low end can't be beat.  For example, in The Two Towers, having a sub lets you really feel the pounding of the orcs' spears on the ground during the Helm's Deep scene.

HDCP is, I think, the copy protection format that HDMI uses, and is that flag I talked about.  Really, you're probably safe for a while.  The first disc to turn it on it going to catch hell from every consumer who has an HDTV like yours, so I don't think anyone's going to jump on that sword for a while.
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Giles Habibula
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2009, 11:00:11 PM »

Thanks guys.
It's good to know that I can get by with just the player for now. I couldn't afford to do everything at once, so that info is very helpful. smile
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Giles Habibula
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2009, 06:56:32 PM »

Okay, got the PS3 (the Uncharted bundle), got it hooked up, and the 1080i looks very nice.

However, my 4:3 (or whatever it's called) 27" CRT-TV with the bars on top and bottom means that the picture is small enough that I'm guessing I'm not getting the full benefit to my eyes. I can see a difference, but damn....I think I'm gonna need a bigger television now...
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2009, 08:26:32 PM »

And so it begins... 

Thanks for helping out the global economy as you start on a never-ending upgrade path.
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2009, 08:28:57 PM »

Doh I just came to post about WalMArt having a $98 Magnavox BluRay player thats getting good reviews online. Sigh.
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2009, 12:09:08 AM »

I still haven't made the move to blu-ray myself. I agree with others that you should be safe from HDMI-only HDCP for a while. If you have 6 decent speakers then IMO the next purchase you should make is a 5.1 receiver and a subwoofer. I think you'll be blown away by the difference in audio quality, especially if your concert disk was mixed for 5.1 surround.
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Giles Habibula
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2009, 01:40:38 AM »

Quote from: kronovan on July 29, 2009, 12:09:08 AM

I still haven't made the move to blu-ray myself. I agree with others that you should be safe from HDMI-only HDCP for a while. If you have 6 decent speakers then IMO the next purchase you should make is a 5.1 receiver and a subwoofer. I think you'll be blown away by the difference in audio quality, especially if your concert disk was mixed for 5.1 surround.

For the record, the concert in question is this one.

It sounds awesome, partly I think because there is support for 2.0, along with a bunch of other options.
After reading the following from that review however, I do wonder what I've been missing...

Quote
Front and center is a powerful, 96kHz/24-bit uncompressed PCM 5.1 surround track that brings the Rotterdam performance surging into your home theater. Where to begin? The LFE channel continually offers fans resonant bass beats, earthy thooms, and healthy choral support. Dynamics are quite impressive, delivering everything from Adelís lyrics to the bandís guitar riffs with crisp, clean, and stable treble tones. Better still, convincing crowd noise regularly erupts from the rear speakers, pans are invisible, and the Ahoy Arena acoustics are believable and realistic. I canít tell you how many times I was impressed with each particular element as it was distributed throughout the soundfield. Even the various pyrotechnics arrive with sonic shock and awe, flooding the soundscape with fierce explosions, rapid bursts of activity, and aggressive, multi-channel presence. To top it all off, the entire track boasts an undeniable clarity that makes this release worth every dime.

However, even if your audio rig canít handle the full weight of this default PCM monster, youíre in luck. The disc also features a variety of additional audio options (all of relatively high quality) including PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1, and standard Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks. All things considered, you couldnít ask for a better live concert audio package than this one. Fans should be thoroughly pleased with the results.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 05:58:27 PM »

There are so many goodies on the Captain America Blu-Ray (not on the DVD disc) that I"m thinking of maybe at least getting an internal or external Blu-Ray drive for my PC. I figure it might also come in handy for backups (esp. Steam).

Does anyone have any experience with Blu-Ray on the PC side, in terms of external or internal drives?

For the time being I'm happy with my old 27" CRT TV wise, and don't plan to get with the program there until technical requirements force me to. We're not far off. The Blu-Ray sections are starting to outsize the DVD sections at most stores I frequent, so I suspect I'll eventually feel like a VCR-user felt when DVD started pushing tapes out of stores and rental places.

Actually my PC monitor (23" Samsung LED) is almost as big as my old TV now.  icon_smile
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 05:59:59 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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